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To codify means to arrange laws, rules, or regulations into a systematic code. The process of codification can involve taking judicial decisions or legislative acts and turning them into codified law.  This process does not necessarily create new law, it merely arranges existing law, usually by subject, into a code. 

For example, in the United States, acts of Congress are codified chronologically in the order in which they became law at Additionally, the United States Code codifies those federal statutes by subject matter instead.

The codification of law helps identify inconsistent, duplicate, and/or ambiguous laws. Additionally, codification creates a uniform source that is easy to access for both professionals and the lay public.

That said, although codifications are useful for finding information, courts sometimes refer back to the original legislation or judicial proceeding when interpreting a codified law in order to understand the intent of the creator of the law.

[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]